The Gathering

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Booksie Classic

We are a ritualistic race of observers and bystanders. Seeking, searching, waiting. Too busy to reach out. Too preoccupied to make time. Too self-involved and self-absorbed to see the waning days or the weakening and diminishing energy that sustains us or those around us.

THE GATHERING

By Al Garcia

We are a ritualistic race of observers and bystanders.  Seeking, searching, waiting.  Too busy to reach out.  Too preoccupied to make time.  Too self-involved and self-absorbed to see the waning days or the weakening and diminishing energy that sustains us or those around us.  

Time and distance separates the heart from the unseen or the unheard.  And misspoken words or unintended or regrettable deeds estrange too many behind closed doors for too long.

It is human to be vain and stubborn and intractable.  It is understandable to refuse to accept or appreciate the feelings or emotions of others.  It is explicable to simply just not want to see or speak or hear from someone who annoys you, upsets you, provokes you or exasperates you. It is human to keep away, to keep a distance, to disassociate, for some wrong, perceived or otherwise.

And yet, when we are notified or told that someone close has passed away, especially someone who we have not spoken to, seen, or communicated within in some time, for whatever reason or whatever cause, there is a sense of a rush to reckoning of all the unsaid or undone things, as if we must atone before the last chime of the church bell sounds.

Then, no one is too busy or preoccupied or self-involved or self-absorbed.  Time is made to attend the gathering of the friends and relatives, and the forgotten guilt-ridden souls, who are always left behind.

It is in the darkness of the moment, when guilt begins to form, that the excuses begin to flow.  First the “I didn’t even know he had been ill,” followed by the obligatory “Why is it we only see each other at times like this?,” and of course, “We have to keep in touch.”  And throughout all this social back and forth, the truly mournful and grief-stricken try to cope and understand the tragedy and the loss, despite the gathering, and the looky-loos.

At a time when the mind is weak and exhausted with the reality of the moment, and the unendurable hardship and heartache of having watched someone fade away, there is the burden of listening and hearing the chatter and blather -- the endurance and tolerance sometimes insufferable, in addition to the grief that has found a place inside your soul.

It is a grueling and exhausting ritual.  A personal profoundness one only feels at times like this.  Yet there comes a moment when there is nothing more that we would like, than to be left alone to grieve.  Then, we feel the contradictory emotion of being thankful for all the relatives and friends who showed up to say goodbye.  It is the human instinct to want to keep this very private moment to oneself, but yet we want to feel and hear the warmth, and the words that reassure, comfort and calm our broken heart.  We are in a state of limbo, between awareness and bewilderment.  Sadness always overpowering and overwhelming, no matter how many times we may have experienced or endured a loss before.

And yet, every time it happens, we always think, if only the gathering had occurred when everyone was still here.  When laughter replaced the crying and the tears, and when we didn’t seem like strangers, but the family we used to be.


Submitted: June 22, 2021

© Copyright 2021 A.Garcia. All rights reserved.

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